F.C. Council Leans Toward Shift to Outsourcing Solid Waste Services by July

At its work session tonight, the Falls Church City Council heard a set of fresh proposals for dealing with the City’s solid waste and recycling collections, and Mayor Robin Gardner summed up the two hour discussion with a resolve to decide in time for the upcoming fiscal year budget whether a plan for outsourcing the collections will work, potentially at a savings of $200,000 a year for the revenue-strapped city.

Three components of a new approach were presented by City Engineer Bill Hicks that included outsourcing, investing in uniform and efficient carts to encourage recycling, and an “Enterprise Fund” method of citizens paying for their solid waste disposal services.

The controversial “Enterprise Fund” approach would move payment for solid waste disposal out of the general fund to a special fund which would be used to bill households for the amount of solid waste they put to the curb each week. Gardner intimated that such a shift may take more time to win the hearts and minds of the citizenry, and should not be done without ample public hearings and other solicitations of public opinion, thus requiring postponement of its implementation for at least a year, if at all. Bob Loftur-Thun, the citizen chair of Falls Church’s Environmental Services Council, spoke adamantly in favor of all three components of the proposed shift for representing “best practices” in a manner now operational in 6,000 U.S. cities.